Alabama Week - Stepping Up Prison Reform

April 25, 2017 - Charlamagne Tha God 04/25/2017 Views: 18,883

After learning about Alabama's overcrowded prisons, Hasan Minhaj finds out how an activist and a GOP lawmaker are trying to reform the state's criminal justice system. (5:19)

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Tonight... tonightwe continue our week-long look

at the great state of Alabama--

a project that starteda little while back

when we read that Alabamawas the place in America

where our show wasthe least popular.

Yes. Like, the only waythey could like the show less

is if I alsoplayed quarterback for LSU.

-(laughter)-But since we realized

we didn't know muchabout the state,

we sent our correspondentsto go see for themselves.

And tonight's report comesfrom Hasan Minhaj, everybody!

-(cheering)-(Minhaj grunts)

Thank you, Trevor.

You know,why don't people in Alabama

like The Daily Show more?

Maybe they feel the issuesthat matter

to delicate coastal liberalslike me--

like climate changeor athleisure sweats--

aren't the issues they care about.

So I went lookingfor what does matter to Alabama,

and learned that Alabama has themost overcrowded prison systems

in America.

So, Trevor,if we're talking Alabama,

we need to be talkingprison reform.

So, why did The Daily Show sendits only Muslim correspondent

to the swamps of Alabama?

Well, I'm here to coverthe state's biggest challenge--

and I'm not talkingabout the horny governor

that went to Pound Town so muchhe had to resign.

What up, Bentley?

I'm here to cover the state'sactual biggest problem:

fixing its broken prisons.

If The Daily Show's going to be a hit in Alabama,

we need to cover the issues they care about.

And everyone here-- from the State House to Main Street--

is concerned about prisons.

Our prisons areso overcrowded...

NEWSWOMAN: ...the main issues has been prison reform.

...dangerous to both inmatesand our corrections officers.

Human safety and securityand human health is at stake.

MINHAJ: I headed to Elmore Correctional

to see Alabama's prisons firsthand.

-(inmates shouting) -And although the guards said

we couldn't film inside, I decided to confront them

like a man.

Wait, hold up. Can we stop?

Dude, I'm not... I'm not gettingtased for this field piece.

I'll just be honest with you--I'm not gonna get tased

or shot or (bleep) with

or sniper'dby that dude up there

in his Golden Eye Golden Gun(bleep) sniper station.

Yeah. That guy.

Yeah, focus on him.

I'll let Southern Poverty Law Center president,

Richard Cohen, describelife on the inside instead.

The conditions are barbaric.

And what happens is,it becomes a little bit,

in some of these dormitories,kind of like Lord of the Flies.

You think I'd be a Piggy?Is that you're trying to say?

I don't know you well enoughto say that,

but I think you would livein a little fear.

Look, you know, in 1980,

there were only 7,000 prisonersin Alabama.

Today, there arefour times that number.

You know, we measure, you know,kind of how a society is doing

by how it treats its prisoners.

And by that measure,we're doing pretty poorly,

unfortunately, in Alabama.

You think if I went in there...

-I'd come out a Muslim?-You're already Muslim.

How could you come out a Muslimif you're already one?

Double down,you know what I mean?

You know how they got orthodox?

The SPLC advocates for reform,

but ultimately, change requires a political solution.

Not so easy in a state where just about every politician

looks like this.

That's right-- Republican.

Tiny Attorney GeneralJeff Sessions-level Republican.

Republicans who historically only felt one way about crime.

NARRATOR: All the candidates aretalking about crime in Alabama.

...thugs and criminals...

♪ Lock 'em up tight!

-...fighting crime...-He's got criminals on the run.

They should go to jail for life.

MINHAJ: But nowadays, State Senator Cam Ward

is redefining Republican justice.

I've championedsentencing reform

and prison reform in this state.

This Republican wantsto eliminate mandatory minimums

and increased leniency for nonviolent offenders.

And also make inmates watch TheDaily Show weeknights at 11:00

No. I don't thinkthat's gonna happen.

All right.

But more importantly, Cam sees inmates as humans.

You look at any correctionsinstitution in the country,

roughly about 50%of their population

has some sortof mental health diagnosis

that we need to tryto help them with.

Now, when did you guys startto catch feelings like this?

I mean, did youstart listening to Drake

and then go, "Hey, man, we needto talk about mental health"?

Uh, no, not really.I'm just more or less,

if somebody's pretty crazy,if you can get them some help

as opposed to letting themcommit a crime,

it's probably a smarter wayof doing it.

What is it like beinga closeted Democrat?

I think I'm just a differentkind of Republican.

It's 2017, Cam.

I heard Macklemore's working ona song about this.

♪ When I was eight years old

♪ I thought I was a Democrat.

You know what I mean?

Yeah.

MINHAJ: I couldn't believe it.

This crazy white dude was down with the cause.

-I'm a white dude, but I'm notcrazy. -Yeah, you're not.

-I mean, okay, but you get whatI'm saying, Cam. -Yeah.

-I get what you're saying.Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. -Yeah.

MINHAJ: Maybe he could give me some dirt on Sessions.

I've just been dying to ask,does Jeff Sessions

have a giant magicalcookie workshop

with a chocolate fountain?

You're gonna have to ask him.

I have my doubts that he does.

Does he ride a grasshopperto work each morning?

Don't know,you'd have to ask him.

Does he sleep in a seashell

or just a matchbox?

You're gonna have to ask himthat one as well, too.

I don't get intohis personal life.

MINHAJ: Cam wasn't snitching, but on the plus side

at least two people in Alabamaare fighting for prison reform.

Combined with the fact

that they happily sell guns to Muslims with zero training,

this state is making some serious progress.

Keep this up, I might just have to make Alabama

my home sweet home.

Of course, I'll probably have to change my look.

-Roll Tide!-♪

(cheers and applause)

Hasan Minhaj, everybody!